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Cyrus The Great and The Bible

Cyrus of Persia is also known as Cyrus the Great and he is considered one of the world’s greatest conquerors and rulers. Cyrus’ name means “like the sun” and during his reign of the Persian Empire he controlled most of the world’s greatest kingdoms and city-states of the era. He appears on the Biblical Timeline with World History around 560 BC.

Cyrus took over the throne of Persia in 559 B.C. after his father Cambyses I had passed away. During his time in power or sometime before he became king, God had revealed to him that he would become one of the greatest kings in the history of the world. In the book of 2 Chronicles 36: 23 God reveals to Cyrus that he was going to gather the major kingdom of the Earth to himself. God authorized Cyrus for this task to accomplish his purposes on the Earth and one of those purposes was to rule his chosen people.

The Israelites and Judeans had rebelled against God for centuries and he ultimately sent them into captivity for their disobedience. He initially allowed the Assyrians and then the Babylonians to punish his people. Eventually, he decided to allow the Persian people to conquer the Babylonians so that they could rule over his people. God allowed Cyrus the Great to govern his people so that he could send them back to their homelands in order to rebuild their temple and to worship him in truth once again.

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Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great

In Ezra 1 God reveals to Cyrus the Great that he is to rebuild the Temple of the Lord which is also known as Solomon’s Temple. He also told him to send the Judeans back to their homelands in order to carry out this task. Cyrus then supplied the Jewish people within his kingdom with the supplies that they needed and he also gave back the treasures that were removed from the temple when the Babylonians defeated them. Since he ruled over most of the kingdoms that surrounded Judah he informed their officials that they were not to interfere with the Jews project. Many of the kingdoms complied with his edict, but there were some that didn’t follow his instructions. Cyrus the Great was mentioned in the Bible 23 times.

Cyrus the Great was born around 600 B.C. and he ruled the Persian Empire around 559 B.C. During his reign he conquered the Medians, the Babylonians, Lydia and he controlled all of the territories and minor kingdoms that were possessed by Babylonians. Cyrus didn’t remove the customs or governments of the people that he ruled; he designed his government to work in collaboration with them. As long as they paid their tribute, taxes and homage, he allowed them to live in peace, to worship as they pleased and pray to their own deities.

King Cyrus was married to Cassandane who was said to have loved him very deeply. Her devotion is supposed to have been so deep that she loved him more than her own life. King Cyrus also had four children. Cambyses II, Bardiya, Atossa, Artystone and another daughter whose name is not mentioned. He loved his family and he was known as a great ruler to his people. This is why the people gave him the name of Cyrus the Great. To some, he was a liberator and to others a savior. The Jewish people referred to him as a righteous king.

He developed and controlled the trade routes between the various empires he dominated. King Cyrus also conquered Turkey, Arabia, Georgia, Indus River, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Oman. He knew how to rule his empire well and through his efforts the Persian Empire had come to influence the Middle East for at least 1000 years. Many Iranian people from the modern era refer to Cyrus as “Father” because of the great influence that he has had on their culture and society over the years. Cyrus the Great was buried in the ancient city of Pasargadae in 530 B.C. which is located in modern-day Iran.

Biblical References:

  •  2 Chronicles 36: 23 King Cyrus acknowledges that God has allowed him to conquer the world.
  • Ezra 1 King Cyrus authorizes the people of Judah to return back to their land in order to rebuild God’s temple.